Heroes Graz Open 2021

Men’s $12k Challenger, 15-19 Sep, Graz, Austria

Semis :

The final will be an Egyptian affair. While the local Austrian senior and junior ranking tournaments raged on the side courts, the two Egyptian semifinalists dispatched their opponents, squashing any doubt that they BELONG in the final.

[5] Moustafa El Sirty (EGY) 3-0 [6] Tsz Kwan Lau (HKG)
After the last two rounds’ heroics, Lau was left stranded and could only look on as El Sirty powered through passed.

[7] Yahya Elnawasany (EGY) 3-0 [3] Ryosei Kobayashi (JPN)
Elnawasany carried his form and Kobyashi was, despite coming desperately close to taking the second set, mostly on the receiving end of all the exchanges.

Finals outlook:
The two countrymen will certainly give us a show to remember! It is a mouthwatering clash of style: big and small, power vs speed – either way, we are spoilt with abundance!

Quarters : Lau flies into the semis

A perfectly spent Friday! That is the conclusion the spectators came to!

[5] Moustafa El Sirty (EGY) 3-2 [4] Henry Leung (HKG)
Although the scoreline suggests otherwise, one never had the feeling that El Sirty could lose. Leung was always challenging, but the big Egyptian always had a grasp on the game. Leung deserves credit for the second massive fight in 2 days – against most other opponents it would have sufficed.

[3] Ryosei Kobayashi (JPN) 3-1 Jakub Solnicky (CZE)
It took a game for the fleet-footed Japanese to get into gear, but then smooth sailing, not giving his Czech opponent any glimpse of advancing.

[6] Tsz Kwan Lau (HKG) 3-2 [1] Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND)
What a comeback from Lau. Physical, gutsy, awesome. simply watch on the stream from 9-9 in the fifth – nuf said

[7] Yahya Elnawasany (EGY) 3-0 Farkas Balazs (HUN)
El Nawasany was focused and in control of every aspect of the match. There wasn’t anything the Hungarian could throw at the Egyptian that did not come back with extra credit.

Semifinal outlook:
Can Lau create magic again and unsettle El Sirty with his speed or will the big Egyptian bash him off the court?
Will Kobayashi be the one to finally give El Nawasany the challenge he deserves?

Round TWO :

A long day at the office – Day 2 concluded, late! The players threw my timeplan out the window, to the spectators’ delight!

[7] Yahya Elnawasany (EGY) 3-0 Martin Svec (CZE)
Yahya seemed on auto-pilot, on a mission, with Svec never finding his way.

[5] Moustafa El Sirty (EGY) 3-1 Marek Panacek (CZE)
Panacek is showing some great improvement transitioning from the European junior circuit to PSA. He was always pushing El Sirty, yet the big egyptian kept him at bay. Nonetheless, Panacek shows all the signs of a promising future.

[4] Henry Leung (HKG) 3-2 Miles Jenkins (ENG)
This was always going to be a gruelling encounter! Forever back-and-forth Jenkins just falling short in a betting man’s nightmare. A lot of work for the referee with the players battling for space.

[6] Tsz Kwan Lau (HKG) 3-2 Hugo Varela (ESP)
Lau seemed to be cruising with his electric movement, then he didn’t. Varela was battling back, wowing the crowd with some astounding retrieval, but in the end Lau took back control to clinch it.

Jakub Solnicky (CZE) 3-1 [8] Aqeel Rehman (AUT)
Aqeel seemed set for a come-back in front of a partisan crowd. Solnicky was not deterred though and all credit for sticking in there, profiting from some Rehman-errors in the final set.

Farkas Balazs (HUN) 3-1 [2] Bernat Jaume (ESP)
The first 2 sets where strongly contended, before Farkas took control and Jaume’s challenge fizzled in overtime. Farkas seems to be the dark horse in the tournament!

[3] Ryosei Kobayashi (JPN) 3-1 Vladislav Titov (RUS)
Titov was more in range than in his previous match, though Kobayashi never really let him in.

[1] Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND) 3-2 Ammar Altamimi (KUW)
Altamimi was on fire and seemed set for an upset after leading 2-0. Mahesh found his late-night groove though and closed out the evening smoothly.

Can Lau disrupt Mangaonkar?  Will Leung be able to counter the big bashing El Sirty?  Who is the real Flash? Solnicky or Kobayashi?  Can bitter-cool Balazs be the fox in the henhouse to upset Elnawasany?

Round TWO Replays


Round One :  Rehan van der Merwe reports

A dream come true !

For years the owner of Heroes and I spoke, planned and dreamed of a squash-center. What should it be? It is a question that still isn’t truly defined, but some months ago, we managed the first step by (him) acquiring a forfeited squash club with 7 panel courts plus all-glass court, and thus Heroes Squash-Bar was born. The previous center had a good concept, but lacked what we felt were essential social and sporting aspects.

With our ideological focus being mostly on junior development, the question arose if we should give them something to strive for, if we should show them what to strive for. Our junior program is still in nappies, but the PSA project was born, and with much (and fast) help from Elliot and his team at PSA, we gratefully stand here today with a proud 12K challenger event: much achieved, but oh so much to do!

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Vladislav Titov (RUS) 3-1 [WC] Georg Stoisser (AUT) 
Stoisser was making the most of his wildcard, harassing Titov with his more unconventional play. In the end Titovs routine paid dividends; he was always just more controlled in the close 4 games to set up his second round match against No3 seed Ryosei Kobayashi tomorrow.

Ammar Altamimi (KUW) 3-0 David Zeman (CZE) 
Altamimi showed good dominance, and apart from a lapse in the second was always in control over his opponent to book his place against No1 seed Mahesh Mangaonkar.

Marek Panacek (CZE) 3-2 Nilo Vidal (ESP) 
In an entertaining see-saw-match Marek Panacek’s movement pace came through against Vidal’s control and execution – easy match of the day. The European junior No1 now faces former world junior runner-up Moustafa el Sirty.

Miles Jenkins (ENG) 3-0 Adam Sinkule (CZE) 
In a one-sided match Miles Jenkins was in absolute control from start to finish, setting up a highly anticipated clash with Henry Leung (4).

Farkas Balazs (HUN) 3-0 [WC] Lukas Windischberger (AUT)
Farkas delighted us with (although at the cost of a local player) sending his opponent hither and thither, always remaining in smooth control. Windischberger obliged by chasing everything, but this was an entertaining number too big. Farkas takes on 2nd seed Jaume in a mouth watering clash.

Martin Svec (CZE) 3-0 Marc Lopez (ESP) 
Svec soon realised his opponent was not in peak form yet after recent injury and quickly capitalised on the open frontcourt. Next stop: Yahya Elnawarany, the young Egyptian hopeful.

Hugo Varela (ESP) 3-0 [WC] Jakob Dirnberger (AUT) 
The 41-year old local player put up a brave fight but Verela’s physical dominance was evident. Tomorrow he will put Tsz Kwan Lau to the test in what promises to be a brutal physical battle.

Jakub Solnicky (CZE) 3-0 Ondrej Vorlícek (CZE)
The clash of the Czechs was entertaining if one-sided. Solnicky was able to utilise the complete court much better that his opponent to set up his match with Austrian title-hope Aqeel Rehman.